We left the ferry in Picton and headed west towards Nelson. We took the scenic route along the coast and saw some stunning views. We spent a couple of nights in beautiful Nelson, what an unbelieveable setting to live in and a really nice town. We mainly mooched. I also did a bit of running, I thought that it was time to take it up again after all that food! We then headed further up the coast to Takaka for a night, stopping at some fresh water springs on the way. Again beautiful. More mooching and going for walks on the beach (so that David could satisfy hs new fetish for photographing dead animals).
Nelson Lakes was next on the list, where we stayed in a DOC (Department of Conservation – like the Forestry Commision) campsite for the first time. Very cheap but the loos were a bit stinky and there were loads of sandflys. But definitely worth the price. We went for a nice long walk around Lake Rotoiti (not all the way around, that takes seven hours).
The next day the weather took a bit of a turn for the worst so we decided to move on. We got to Westport and were told that there was a tsunami watch on because of an earthquake in the Pacific. So David decided it would be a great idea to continue on down the coast and camp about 10 meters from the sea. To be fair it all came to nothing and the watch was called off by the time we got to Punakaiki where we were staying. The bad weather was actually a blessing when it came to seeing the Pancake Rocks. A very odd set of rock formations which the sea clatters through creating a quite impressive display. We also saw some baby Wekas which are very, very cute.
Next stop was Franz Josef to see the glaciers. Nowhere near as impressive as the one in Argentina. Although out of the two (Franz Josef and Fox) I thought Fox was the best. Alas Argentina has ruined both glaciers and waterfalls for ever more. We finished the day off by going out for a curry to celebrate our friends birthdays (unfortunately they went out for their curry in England).
Then we trucked on to Wanaka, a nice little town next to a lake of the same name, which is full of dudes and has the coolest cinema ever. The seats are all armchairs and sofas (there is even a yellow Morris Minor to sit in), you can have alcoholic drinks and there is an intermission in which you can buy homemade cookies (cooked during the first half of the film) and ice cream. It felt like watching a film in someones living room and made me want to start my own independent cinema when I get home (another pipe dream!).
More walking and running was done the next day and I managed to trip over my own shoes (stupid hiking boots) and graze my hand quite nastily (all healing now though). David thought that this was very funny after he realised I wasn´t about to burst into tears.
Now we are in Queenstown which is again a nice place, would be really nice if we had any money to spend but unfortunately eating out is quite pricey. The day before we arrived we booked a tandem skydive each, thinking that the weather would be a bit dodgy and it would be cancelled, but the weather was just right. So David and I got to jump out of a plane at 12,000ft. It was amazing, incredible and utterly brilliant! And I think David agrees. I´m not sure that I will be taking it up as a hobby but I would certainly do it again. Needless to say after that we went out for a few drinks to try and calm down a bit!
Today we went up in the gondola and played on a luge they have at the top of the hill, good fun but not quite worth the money I thought. We looked at the bungee jump up there too but I think I draw the line at that one. It looked twenty times more frightening than the sky dive was. We are heading towards Milford Sound tomorrow, adrenalin sports over and done with.
Sian (and David) xxx